With the summer just beginning, practice pool safety; ensure your pool and spa area in your backyard is safe, to prevent child drownings.

So far this year, 14 pool-related drowning incidents by children have occurred in the state. In 2011 alone, 27 children died from drowning, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS).

This summer, keep your kids safe (especially around the backyard pool) by taking the following precautions, provided by the Arizona Insurance Council (AIC):

  • Add a barrier between the pool and your home; make it difficult for your kids to get to the pool by installing a pool fence. Ensure it has self-closing, self-latching gates and a door alarm that sounds when a door is opened from inside the home, says Ron Williams, executive director of the AIC.
  • Secure all doors, gates and pets doors that lead to the pool area.
  • Ensure your pool has compliant drain covers.
  • Keep toys away from pool areas, and secure spas with childproof covers.
  • Teach children how to swim.
  • Take the phone with you to the pool; in case of an emergency, dial 911 immediately.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends that you have a pool safety toolkit near your pool or spa so you are ready to respond quickly to anything that may happen:

  • A first aid kit
  • A pair of scissors to cut hair, clothing or a pool cover, if needed
  • A charged portable telephone to call 911
  • A flotation device

For more information about AIC or the CPSC, visit azinsurance.org or cpsc.gov, respectively.

For more information about pool safety, visit poolsafely.gov.